ATP Tour

Davis Cup debut for Edmund, alongside Murray

2015-11-26 19:13
Andy Murray (File)

Ghent - Kyle Edmund will make his Davis Cup debut for Britain on Friday when he joins Andy Murray in trying to hand their country its first overall success in the tennis showpiece since 1936.

The 20-year-old South African-born player will become just the sixth man in the 115-year history of the competition to make his debut in the final when he plays the opening rubber in Ghent against Belgium's top player, David Goffin.

Murray, the world number two and the inspiration behind Britain's march into the Davis Cup final for the first time since 1978, will then take on lowly-ranked Ruben Bemelmans, who will take centre stage after playing provincial club tennis in France last week.

The 28-year-old Scot is set to once again team up with older brother Jamie in Saturday's doubles against Steve Darcis and Kimmer Coppejans, and then go up against world number 16 Goffin in a potentially decisive match at the start of Sunday's reverse singles.

Britain are seeking their 10th Davis Cup win in all, but first since 1936 when Fred Perry ruled the roost.

Belgium's only previous appearance in the final came 111 years ago when they lost to what was then the British Isles.

The central figure in the Friday-to-Sunday clash on a specially-prepared claycourt inside the 13,000-capacity Flanders Expo centre is undoubtedly British number one Murray.

The Scot has propelled his country into the final by winning all eight rubbers he has played -- six singles and two doubles -- against heavyweights United States, France and Australia.

Should he win both his singles -- as he is heavily favoured to do -- he would be just the third player -- after John McEnroe and Mats Wilander -- to win all eight Davis Cup singles matches in the same year.

Many are portraying the final as a case of Andy Murray against Belgium, but the former Wimbledon and US Open champion said that would be a mistake.

"I think if you look at it that way, they're actually putting a lot of pressure on their own players in the other matches, to be honest," he said.

"I'm happy to take as much pressure on my shoulders as is needed. I've been in that position, I think, a lot of times in my career. I think I will be able to deal with it okay."

Edmund, who won a second-tier Challenger title on clay in Buenos Aires earlier this month to grab the attention of team captain Leon Smith, said that he knew he would be wading into unchartered waters on Friday.

"This is definitely going to be the biggest crowd I've played in front of. Probably the biggest occasion," the world number 100 said.

"The experience I've had close to that is probably in Paris in my (French Open) first round when I played a French guy in front of a loud French crowd. That's my experience in that regard.

"But, yeah, this will definitely be louder, a lot more people watching. It a new experience for me. It's something I'm going to have to learn as I go through the match. But it's a good problem and it's exciting."

Belgian coach Johan van Herck agreed that while Belgium would start as the underdogs due to the Murray factor, having home advantage, as the Belgians have had throughout their 2015 campaign, could be a real boost.

"I think it will be huge," he said. "The two nations played all their matches at home this year. We'll have this one at home also.

"We're looking forward to getting the people involved. I think it will be important that the people get behind us when we're winning, when we're losing.

"Try to get them on the back a little bit of the English -- the Brits, if I have to be correct.

"No, we will try to get them involved as much as we can, as much as we are allowed to. It's an advantage we have to take."


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